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NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND – Jess Liaudin's pre-fight banter with Marcus Davis proved to be a significant mistake.
An angry Davis won his 11th consecutive fight on Saturday at UFC 80 at Metro Radio Arena when he knocked out Liaudin with a left to the temple.
Liaudin was talking trash prior to the fight and that angered Davis, who took his wrath out on the Frenchman with sudden swiftness. Davis set up the punch with a kick to the midsection. When Liaudin winced in pain, the former pro boxer followed with a left hook that ended the fight.
"I was (angry) because he ran his mouth and said a lot of things," Davis said. "I don't talk, but I heard what he was saying. After he said all that, I told you I was going to do two things. One, I said I was going to punch a hole through his head. I got a good look at him and it didn't happen. And two, I said I was going to show something that nobody knows I can do."
And the second part came, Davis said, when he used the kick to set up the punch.
The win, UFC president Dana White said, probably vaulted Davis into the UFC's top 10 among welterweights.
Davis, though, said he's not necessarily interested in winning the welterweight belt. His target is former Pride lightweight champion Takanori Gomi, a hard-puncher like Davis.
"The fight I want, man, I don't care about belts or titles whether I'm in the top 10 or not in the top 10, what I care about is fighting," Davis said. "I am a fighter. I remember that (Marvin) Hagler-(Thomas) Hearns fight. For (three) rounds, they beat the hell out of each other. That's the kind of fight I want."
UFC 80 BONUSES
New UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn, who scored a second-round submission over Joe Stevenson in the main event, won a $35,000 bonus for submission of the night, White said.
Wilson Gouveia earned the same bonus for knockout of the night for his one-punch KO of Jason Lambert, while Paul Kelly and Paul Taylor earned $35,000 apiece for fight of the night.
Kelly won a unanimous decision in a fierce battle.
"Right now, I'm happier than a pig in (garbage)," Kelly said.
White said that popular heavyweight Andrei Arlovski would fight at UFC 82 on March 1 in Columbus, Ohio. He said the opponent isn't certain but is likely to be Jake O'Brien. Arlovski hasn't fought since a lackluster win over Fabricio Werdum in April in Manchester, England.
White said the UFC would return to England for a fight card at the O2 Arena in London in June. He said there would be a fight in Germany this year and said he was also looking at holding cards in Croatia, Dublin, Ireland, and Scotland.
Antoni Hardonk knocked out Colin Robinson with a jab just 17 seconds into the first round of their heavyweight fight. As the jab landed, Robinson collapsed in a heap.
Hardonk, attempting to be sportsmanlike, didn't jump on Robinson because it seemed like he was hurt. Referee Mario Yamasaki didn't immediately stop the fight, though, so after a brief hesitation, Hardonk moved in.
But before he could get in to land additional blows, Robinson tried to get up and fell face first back down.
That's when Yamasaki stopped it. As he did, Robinson protested he was fine and didn't seem to realize he'd fallen down twice from the same jab.
Yamasaki said he didn't stop it immediately because sometimes fighters are awakened by the force of hitting the mat after they're knocked down.
The UFC is suing its heavyweight champion, Randy Couture, in a Nevada court, but White refuses to strip him of the belt. He is calling the match between Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Tim Sylvia on Feb. 2 in Las Vegas for the interim belt.
The UFC is recognizing Couture as its champion and not stripping him. White said he did not see removing the interim tag anytime soon.
"It's out of my hands," White said. "He's got a half million of my money. He can fight. He can fight if he wants to. We'll keep it (an interim title) forever. Believe me, we'll hold on forever."
NO MORE TEARS
When Penn won his first UFC title by defeating Matt Hughes in 2004, he wept in the cage. He said Saturday after winning the lightweight bout that he'd promised himself he wouldn't do that.
After Stevenson tapped his submission to give Penn his second title, Penn dropped to his knees and kissed the mat. Seconds later, he laid on his back in exultation.
"I just told myself not to cry," Penn said.
BUILD A HOME
Davis has fought on three consecutive cards in the U.K. and said he has no objections to continuing to do so.
The man who is nicknamed the "Irish Hand Grenade," said he would like to build a home in the U.K. if he can earn enough money fighting in the UFC.
"I love fighting for these people here and this is where I want to build my house," he said.